What happened

If you'll pardon the mixed metaphor, train railcar lessor Trinity Industries, Inc. (TRN -0.84%) stock is truckin' right along this Thursday morning, up 11.5% at one point, and still holding onto a 5.5% gain as of 12:10 p.m. EST, after reporting stronger-than-expected revenue and earnings last night.  

Heading into fourth-quarter earnings, analysts had forecast Trinity would earn $0.31 per share pro forma, on revenue of $808 million. As it turned out, Trinity earned $0.35 per share (again, pro forma -- more on that in a second) on sales of $851 million, beating expectations.  

Train rail cars in the snow

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

The news wasn't all great. Trinity's vaunted $0.35 per share in non-GAAP (adjusted) EPS -- the pro forma number -- overstated actual GAAP profits. The company's EPS under generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) of $0.18 was actually a 5% year-over-year decline. That's despite revenue growing 16% year over year.

Still, the revenue growth alone was nice to see, and the earnings did come in stronger than Wall Street had predicted. More importantly, for the year as a whole, Trinity managed to grow sales 20% to $3 billion, and grew its GAAP earnings from continuing operations 56% -- to $1.09 per diluted share.

Now what

Looking ahead to fiscal 2020, Trinity forecasts that it will earn between $1.15 and $1.35 per common diluted share on revenue of between $2.5 billion and $2.7 billion. That would be a steep drop-off from fiscal 2019 sales, of course, but about a 15% increase in earnings.

With Trinity stock now selling for about 21.5 times earnings, I wouldn't call the stock cheap on 15% forecasted earnings growth. But after factoring in the 3.6% dividend yield, I wouldn't call Trinity expensive, either.